Persuasion by Jane Austen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 15, 2011
Persuasion is one of Jane Austen's more overlooked works. Pride and Prejudice is everywhere, Sense and Sensibility is familiar, and Emma is fairly well known. (Pride and Prejudice has over 500,000 ratings on Goodreads, compared to Persuasion's 73,000.) I only read it because I studied it in a literature class. My advice, especially to those new to the slightly intimidating Austen, is to watch the movie first. There are several versions and a miniseries. Once you know the story and have images of the characters in your head, it's easier to follow Austen's narrative – witty, charming, and biting by turn.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, who almost marry seven years before the beginning of the book. Deeply in love with the then-poor and untitled sailor, 20-year-old Anne let her surrogate mother, Lady Russell, and her vain father and sisters persuade her against the match.

Anne, who remains unmarried, still regrets her decision seven years later, when Mr. Wentworth returns with money, prestige, and the title of captain. Amidst the usual drama and betrayal of upper-class English society, the two fall in love all over again, in spite of Lady Russell's (and Anne's) infatuation with a wealthy, handsome, and smooth-talking cousin. A happy ending is assured, along with quite a bit of delightful gossip and impropriety.

The story is appropriate for anyone who can understand Austen's paragraph-long and parenthesis-filled sentences. I recommend it for teens; younger readers may become frustrated with the language and swear off Austen forever. Even if you've never had the courage to pick up one of her books before, watch the movie and pick an edition of Persuasion without footnotes. Illustrations are also a plus.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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